I have been defending atheism and religious skepticism since we founded Skeptic in 1992, both through the magazine and in my books, and have continued the tradition throughout my nearly 18 years as a Scientific American columnist, for example on the rise of atheism. . . . and the death of God.I usually expect to agree with him, and then discover that I don't.
One problematic aspect of the “atheist” label is that believers and “faitheists” (as you so effectively call atheists who believe in belief — for others, of course), is that we allow others to define us by what we don’t believe. That will never suffice. We must define ourselves by what we do believe: science, philosophy, reason, logic, empiricism and all the tools of the scientific method, along with civil rights, civil liberties, women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, and moral progress as a result of these components of our worldview, which might better be described as humanism or one of its variants: secular humanism, Enlightenment humanism, or as I’m now suggesting, Scientific Humanism, the subject of my final Scientific American column.
Defining ourselves by what we do believe prevents believers and faitheists from calling us “atheists” and then attacking whatever that word means to them, instead of what it means to us (namely, a lack of belief in a deity, full stop).
If atheism just means "a lack of belief in a deity, full stop", then what are all those other issues he brings up in the preceding paragraph?
No, that is not what atheism has come to mean. Atheists attend conferences led by gurus who have written best-selling books, and they have redefined the term. In particular, they have adopted a left-wing agenda that has little to with belief in a deity.
For example, Shermer lists his positive atheist beliefs as including "animal rights"!
More importantly, the atheist gurus seem to all believe in a leftist notion of moral progress. You won't see Trump supporters at an atheist convention.
Shermer calls himself a "skeptic", but what is he skeptical about? He appears to take the most boring and conventional positions that you would expect from our current batch of leftist groupthink academics.
The correct stance to take when you don't know is...drumroll...."I do not know", really, that's it, which is the agnostic position.ReplyDelete
Even a child can see that there is more than black and white, yes or no where belief is concerned.
1. There is a god just like catholics like to believe with
a heaven a hell, pearly gates and the whole nine yards.
This kind of sucks if you happen to be anything other
than a catholic...which is sort of the point of most of
the bitching and griping that goes on about this
2. There is a god who is NOT what human religions profess,
under this category you could fit the 'prime mover' of
Des Cartes or some of the other philosophers.
3. There is a god, sadly, humanity really has no idea what
this is or what motivates it... much like the concepts
dark matter or energy, invoked frequently to pretend to
answer a question when it has never been observed or
4. There is an intelligence 'a la' 2001 a Space Odyssey,
technologically so advanced that it is indicernible from
miraculous... much like what sciencey folks like to
screw with they invoke their anthropic bullshit or
divergent multiverses to make their probabilities not
rankle their precious mathematically mystical
sensibilities. This category could also fit into
intelligent design in many regards.
4. god is a fake (some entity which merely set itself up
as god to screw with us).
5. god does not exist, it's all nihilism all the way down.
I really do think scientists should chew on this poison
very carefully as it does not lead to anything except
madness. Nihilists should also be told to shut the hell
up since they themselves don't believe anything they say
has meaning or value...by their own admission it can't.
6. god didn't exist but was created by some dipshit
programmer determined to create his own AI replacement
and start his own homemade apocalypse.
7. god didn't initially exist, but evolved inside the human
psyche like some kind of meta ego, allowing some kind of
eventual super consciousness that will transcend it's
8. There was a god but atheists killed it with smug and
9. There is a god and he created everything... in his bed
room as a science fair project.
... his mom is really pissed as she just heard a very
loud 'bang' sound and is coming to investigate and boy
o' boy is little 'god' in trouble now... in just another
eon or two she is going to hand our creator a broom and
dust pan and tell him to clean up the mess he made.
10. You are living in a multiverse of your heart's desire,
there just doesn't happen to be a god in your
particular universe...but a few 'verses over, wow,
Santa Jesus Bunny actually exists!
11. My cat tells me I'm entirely mistaken about divinity,
They have been here all along ruling us in secret and
have us right where they want us.